Zeliang inducts BJP leader into ministry

Paiwang Konyak gets cabinet rank, more parliamentary secretaries appointed

By Our correspondent in Kohima
  • Published 28.04.15
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Governor P.B. Acharya (centre), chief minister T.R. Zeliang (second from right) and other leaders. Telegraph picture

Kohima, April 27: Nagaland chief minister T.R. Zeliang today expanded his ministry after months of political uncertainty.

Zeliang elevated BJP member P. Paiwang Konyak to cabinet rank and appointed four Independent MLAs as parliamentary secretaries. Konyak was parliamentary secretary for transport and information and public relations.

Governor P.B. Acharya administered the oath of office to Konyak at Raj Bhavan.

Independent MLA and Deputy Speaker Levi Rengma has become parliamentary secretary and other MLAs who were sworn in as parliamentary secretaries were Independents Amenba Uaden, Y.M. Yollow Konyak and Toyang Changkong Chang and BJP legislator Mmhonlumo Kikon. The five parliamentary secretaries were sworn in by chief minister Zeliang at the state banquet hall. Their portfolios will be allotted next month.

The chief minister was expected to further expand his ministry after the reconciliation process with the dissidents was completed.

Since November, dissidents led by former chief minister and Lok Sabha MP Neiphiu Rio, former home minister G. Kaito Aye and former minister Noke Wangano have been trying to oust Zeliang.

As a result, four cabinet ministers and several parliamentary secretaries, advisers and chairmen of the different departments resigned from the Zeliang ministry.

The ruling Democratic Alliance of Nagaland (DAN) consists of 38 NPF legislators, eight Independents, four BJP, one each from the JDU) and the NCP. The Congress, which supported Zeliang during the floor test on February 5, has been kept out of the ministry because of strong opposition from the BJP.

BJP national president Amit Shah and state unit president N. Chuba Ao said they would not sail together with the Congress.

Ao said three other BJP lawmakers would be appointed parliamentary secretary, adviser and chairman of the departments.

But a source said Congress leaders have come to an understanding with the chief minister and have opted for outside support to the DAN government. Sources said Aye and Noke are expected to be inducted into the cabinet in the next expansion but former ministers Imkong L. Imchen, Khuzoluzo Nienu, S. Pangnyu Phom and C.M. Chang may not get berths.

After the expansion of the ministry, a DAN coordination committee meeting was convened by chairman Shurhozelie Liezietsu, who is also president of the NPF, to dispel misgivings and cement the relationship among the alliance members.

Chief minister Zeliang also convened a reconciliation meeting with the dissidents at his official residence in the evening to work out a formula and modalities to resolve the issue. But an NPF insider said the end of the toppling game is far from over. Zeliang might still face a tough time if NPF members are not given precedence, according to sources. The NPF has also convened a general conference on Thursday in Kohima.